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With the arrival of winter, it is crucial to dress adequately. Extended exposure to the cold can lead to problems, including frostbite.
Canadian winters bring their share of enjoyment, but they are also characterised by a frigid cold. A number of outdoor activities are very popular with both young and old, but the biting cold can curb people's enthusiasm. When the choice is made to go ahead with one, it's important to use caution and dress warmly to avoid certain problems, such as frostbite.
Frostbite is an injury to an extremity caused by exposure to the cold, especially in the presence of humidity. It's location, extent, and severity may vary. The areas most often affected are the cheeks, nose, ears, chin, fingers, and toes. Young children are usually the most vulnerable to frostbite. However, anyone can fall victim to it.
Frostbite generally takes some time to develop, and the following factors can increase the risk of occurrence:
One of the first signs of frostbite is a loss of sensation. Then, skin weakened by the cold will become red and later turn white. The affected area will become stiff to the touch. People with frostbite will generally complain of a tingling sensation, numbness or pain. In some instances, no particular sensation is felt, especially when nerves are frozen. Loss of movement is also possible.
If the skin is exposed to the cold for an extended period of time, it becomes firm, white and waxy in appearance. The affected area can subsequently be more vulnerable to frostbite.
Here are some possible complications in the case of serious frostbite:
It is important to mention that you should seek adequate medical care if needed.
Dressing adequately is often the key to success in enjoying winter without the unpleasantness of frostbite. A scarf, mitts, and warm boots are all important. Additionally, it is advisable to take several breaks inside to have snacks and hot beverages. Particular attention should be paid to very small children to prevent hypothermia and frostbite. Before each outdoor activity, it is preferable to check the temperature and wind chill factor.
At the first warning signs of frostbite, it is advisable to go indoors as quickly as possible to get warm. Why not take advantage of the opportunity to light a fire, drink a cup of hot chocolate or a delicious bowl of hot soup?
Frostbite can sometimes develop into a serious injury. IT IS IMPORTANT NOT TO do the following, which can worsen the situation by causing small blood vessels to burst or damage skin further:
Instead, here are the recommended measures:
Once the limb has been warmed, the affected area may first feel numb, then swell and become hot, sensitive or painful. If pain occurs, it may be beneficial to take an analgesic. Always ask your pharmacist for advice before taking an over-the-counter medication.
Don't hesitate to speak to your pharmacist if you have any question about frostbite or first aid.
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